ECP to probe RTS failure

ACCORDING to media reports, Election Commission of Pakistan has decided to conduct investigation into dismal performance of the much-talked-about Result Transmission System (RTS) during dissemination of election results. The Commission intends to approach National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) that prepared and operated the software aimed at prompt dissemination of election results but collapsed in a few hours.
There is no doubt that the RTS was a good initiative and its initial performance sent positive signal across the country. It was amusing for people of Pakistan to watch fast transmission of results through PTV eliminating the need to look towards other means for evolving results of national and provincial assemblies’ constituencies. However, the situation changed within hours when it was informed that the system had developed fault for reasons best known to NADRA. Every new system is required to be widely tested so that faults and drawbacks are addressed satisfactorily. It was well known to both the ECP and NADRA that the system would be accessed by over eighty-six thousand presiding officers and it should be able to sustain such a pressure. It was all the more necessary to ensure its proper functioning as it was directly linked with the credibility of the Election Commission. The extraordinary delay in announcement of results raised doubts and suspicions and these were understandable as the Commission even failed to announce results of urban constituencies.
Apart from ECP, some unscrupulous elements also misused the non-functioning of RTS to apportion blame on Punjab Information Technology Board alleging that its fault had something to do with a conspiracy spearheaded by former Chief Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif as PITB functioned excellently under the supervision of Dr Saif during tenure of Shehbaz Sharif. This is despite the fact that the Board had nothing to do with the RTS and the software was entirely developed and operated by NADRA. The incident also has a lesson not to make decisions in haste. The ECP was also under pressure to introduce an online voting system for Overseas Pakistanis within the short period at its disposal. However, sanity prevailed and the idea was dropped, otherwise there would have been another scandal.

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